Why You Shouldn’t Say, “I’m Sorry”
For the first 10 years of our marriage I (Justin) avoided conflict at all costs. I didn’t like arguing. I usually lost most arguments and viewed any disagreement as failure as a husband. I equated avoided conflict as resolved conflict.
I was always first to say, “I’m sorry.” Sometimes I didn’t even know what I was sorry for. Other times, I wasn’t even sorry at all, I just wanted the argument to end.
Most of the time we view saying, “I’m sorry” as a sign of humility, but there are times saying, “I’m sorry” is way more about us than the other person. In those case it will make things worse, not better.
Here are four reasons you shouldn’t say, “I’m sorry.”
You’re more sorry you got busted than for what you did.
So often our pride hurts more than our heart. We often get offended for being called out or held accountable and so we apologize, not because we are remorseful for what we’ve done but more we are more resentful for being caught. When we aren’t sorry for what we’ve done, the odds are we will repeat it.
You’re saying you’re sorry to fix the person to whom you’re apologizing.
So often we want to fix the person and not the relationship. We are more concerned about the person being better or getting over being mad than we are about healing the relationship. When you are saying you’re sorry hoping to fix their dysfunction rather than resolve the conflict.
You’re manipulating the situation or person with an apology.
There have been so many times I’ve apologized just to get what I want. I know if I give in first, then I can manipulate the situation to go may way. When we are saying we are sorry just to get our way, that is the wrong motivation.
It’s about you feeling better not them feeling valued.
Saying your sorry to make yourself feel better might change your behavior for a few days, but won’t change your heart. If you repeatedly apologize for the same thing (over spending, losing your temper, being late, using harsh words) maybe you’re apologizing to make yourself feel better about you, rather than truly valuing the person to whom your apologizing.
“I’m sorry” can be the most powerful words you can say to someone. “I’m sorry” can also be the most overused and least potent words in a relationship. Your heart when you say, “I’m sorry” will make all the difference.